SPOKANE, Wash. – The City of Spokane started the demolition of the IMAX building in Riverfront Park on Monday.
The IMAX building was slated to be demolished in March. City officials said the schedule moved up several weeks to utilize heavy demolition equipment already on site.
City leaders said the first phase of demolition involves a high reach excavator and remove the top 25-30 feet. It is anticipated to take most of the week. Then they said, smaller excavators are being used to remove the remainder of the building. Demolition will also remove the Ice Palace roof and science building. The cable net structure from Expo ’74 will stay.
Several people stopped by the demolition site on Monday afternoon. Some people are excited to see what is next for the park but at the same time they are sad to see the IMAX go.
"I think it's good but it's good to have memories of it as well," one woman said.
"I just think it's sad. I mean it's just part of the park. I love it here and so it just of it belongs there," another person said.
The area where the IMAX was will be apart of the new pavilion. It will be an open space that can be used for events like concerts and festivals.
The IMAX opened in 1978 at a cost of about $1 million. A 30-year contract with IMAX gave the city of Spokane exclusive rights to IMAX films in the region expired in 2008.
By 2012, city officials said the IMAX was no longer financially viable with a loss of about $165,000.
City officials released a map of alternative routes to take during the demolition.